November 4, 2008

Coastal Jobs Coalition Reports That Lobby Group Admitted to Paying Officials to Testify, Travel

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), which is actively lobbying state and local officials in Oregon regarding ocean fisheries issues, has admitted to offering payment to current and former elected officials - county, port and city commissioners - from Oregon coastal communities to attend and testify at a hearing of the Pacific Fisheries Management Council this week (Nov 3-7) in San Diego, Calif. The Coastal Jobs Coalition learned of the actions on Friday, Oct. 31 and is demanding that the organization reveal who they have paid - and how much - to testify and travel.

The Coastal Jobs Coalition strongly supports legitimate public participation in the regulatory process by citizens and elected officials, but points out that it is highly inappropriate for lobbying groups - such as EDF - to offer payment of any kind in exchange for elected and government officials to testify at public meetings. The issue was brought to the attention of the Oregon Ethics Commission to investigate and to notify elected officials in Oregon's coastal communities, who may not be aware of this situation, that this is taking place. EDF revealed in a Nov.3 announcement that the actions have occurred.

The Council's final decision this week will have a far-reaching impact on preserving the economic viability of coastal communities and jobs, as well as the long-term health of the seafood industry. In June, the Council voted in favor of allocating 20 percent of quota shares to processors and 80 percent to harvesters. This preliminary vote reflects a compromise position that emerged over four years of debate, analysis, meetings, public comment and review.

The amount of harvest quota initially allocated to processors is among the most contentious issues in the development of the new fisheries management plan. A shared market quota system would recognize that both processors and fishermen have invested heavily in coastal jobs and capital equipment and could: protect current jobs in coastal communities, guarantee fair access to resources, stabilize prices for consumers and encourage environmental stewardship.

More about Supporting a Shared Market

For more information about the proposed groundfish and Pacific whiting regulations and their potential impact on coastal jobs and communities, visit